The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 aims to ensure that where private individuals keep dangerous wild animals they do so in circumstances which create no risk to the public and which safeguard the welfare of the animals.
A fee is payable on application plus all veterinary inspection fees. The current fee is given in the Council's Fees and Charges list. A licence is valid for two years. If the application is withdrawn by the applicant after submission a non-returnable minimum charge of £20 will be made to recover administration costs. This will increase to £50 if a site visit has been made. All veterinary fees incurred will also be payable.
You can an application form (link below) to complete and return with the fee. We are unable to process online applications at this time.
When is a licence required?
Anyone wishing to keep any animal(s) which are classified as a "dangerous wild animal" in a schedule [external website PDF] to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act requires a Licence issued by the local authority.
We will enforce the conditions of the licence if they are breached and will investigate any complaints received about the keeping of these animals. The licensing process will involve a veterinary inspection. A licence can only be granted to individuals aged 18 years and over.
This licensing procedure does not apply to animals kept in:
- A zoo
- A circus
- A pet shop
- A place registered under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 for the purpose of performing experiments.
A person is held to be the keeper of the animal if they have it in their possession. They remain the 'keeper' and therefore are responsible for the animal, even if it escapes or it is being transported etc. A licence holder has to contact the licensing authority for approval if animals are to be moved to another destination.
What are the licence conditions?
Before a licence is issued, the local authority must be satisfied that certain 'dangerous wild animal' conditions, relating to safety and the welfare of the animals, are met.
Permission must be sought if the animal is to be moved into another Local Authority area. The relevant local authorities are required to consult with each other before permission can be granted.
Seizure of Animals
If a Dangerous Wild Animal is being kept without the authority of a licence or in contravention of a licence condition, the Local Authority may seize the animal and retain it, destroy it or otherwise dispose of it. The Local Authority is not liable to pay compensation and, where the Council incurs any expense in seizing, retaining or disposing of an animal then the person who was the keeper of the animal shall be liable for those costs.
Making an application
If you wish to apply for a licence, please download and complete the 'dangerous wild animal' application form [PDF 57 KB]. An application for a licence must be made (unless in exceptional circumstances) by the person who proposes to own and possess the animal. Once an application has been received, we will arrange for an inspection by a suitable vet, an officer of the Council may also need to visit.
Before granting a Licence, we will consider the vet's report, information obtained during the visit, the applicant, the premises and other relevant matters.
We will not grant a licence unless we are satisfied that all licence conditions can be met and it will not be contrary to the public interest on grounds of safety, nuisance or otherwise.
According to the wishes of the applicant, a licence comes into force on either the day on which it is granted in which case it expires on 31 December of that same year, or on 1 January next in which case it expires on 31 December of that next year. If an application for renewal is made before the date of expiration, the licence continues, until the application is determined.
On the death of a licence holder, the licence continues in the name of the personal representatives for 28 days only and then expires unless application is made for a new licence within that time, in which case it continues, until the new application is determined.
Other matters to consider
Before making an application for a licence to keep a dangerous wild animal you are advised to consider the following:
- Is the activity likely to give rise to nuisance?
- Can you comply with the requirements of the licence conditions?
- What arrangements will you make for the care of the animal if you are away from the premises?
Tel: 0115 907 2244 ext 3820